A prospective analysis of trash, brush, and grass burning behaviors

Lucy A. Wibbenmeyer, Gerald P. Kealey, Tracy L. Young, Ingrid M. Newell, Robert W. Lewis, Benjamin R. Miller, Corrine Peek-Asa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Burn injuries sustained during residential trash, brush, and grass burning cause significant morbidity and mortality in rural areas. To further prevention efforts, we surveyed individuals who incurred injuries from residential burning. Thirty-six individuals injured while burning trash, brush, or grass from June 2003 through September 2005 were asked to respond to a self-administered written survey. Injury related questions revealed that the majority of those injured were burning brush (21 of 35, 60.0%) in an open space (19 of 35, 54.2%) with the addition of accelerants (27 of 36, 75%). Survey questions regarding usual burning practices revealed almost two-thirds burned either brush or a mixture of brush and trash (23 of 36, 63.9%). Eighty percent of those who were injured desired to change their behavior (25 of 35, 80%). Approximately two-thirds would consider asking for help with burning if it were provided (22 of 34, 64.7%). Our survey shows that acceptable alternatives to burning varied depending on the material that was burned. As the majority of respondents usually burned brush or a mixture of brush and trash, an acceptable trash removal system should also include brush pickup. As residential burning continues presently, injury prevention efforts are essential and should focus on the misuse of gasoline, uniform safety standards for gasoline cans, and dissemination of safe burning practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-445
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2008


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